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Our Natural World in Art: Opening May 26

Painted Bunting by Marv ElliottRCAS’s show Our Natural World in Art opens this Friday, May 26, with an opening reception from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. There will be light refreshments, a classical guitarist and several of the artists.

The show is being held at Stone Valley Arts at Fox Hill at 145 E. Main Street Poultney. The art includes many beautiful photos and paintings of birds as well as other wildlife and botanicals.

Several mediums are represented and many of the works are for sale. The work is by local artists as well as RCAS members.




Additional hours for the show are as follows:

  • Saturday and Sunday, May 27 and 28, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Saturday and Sunday, June 3 and 4, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Saturday and Sunday, June 10 and 11, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Hope to see you there!


century count XXII

102! We broke a ‘century’ again for RCAS’s annual attempt to tally 100 species or more in Rutland County. The dawn light was beautiful, but quite chilly. Extra layers and gloves were appreciated until late in the morning.

We started the count, as we always do, at West Rutland Marsh. As the sun rose, the morning chorus increased. Willow and alder flycatchers returned this week, adding their voices to the marsh wrens, yellow warblers, common yellowthroats and swamp sparrows that have already returned and claimed their territories. Virginia rails were heard and an American bittern flew across the marsh. Two green herons were seen in flight and then perched, giving us good views.

The Pleasant Street power line was still in the shade when we arrived. The rising song of the two prairie warblers was heard (with a few of us catching glimpses of this beautiful bird). However, we did not hear the downward bouncing ball song of the field sparrow. A wood thrush sang in the nearby woods while eastern towhees invited us to ‘drink our tea’ (a warm cup would have been nice at that point). Over the breeze, we managed to pick out the songs of Nashville warbler, chestnut-sided warbler and blackpoll. A single eastern bluebird was perched on the wire.

Great Blue Heron at Bomoseen State ParkThe Canada warbler singing on Thursday’s marsh monitoring walk was still singing along Whipple Hollow Road. Another blackpoll was heard as well as a northern waterthrush and another wood thrush.

The Route 4 rest area and Blueberry Hill WMA was a bonanza of warblers. Adding ticks, both to checklists and pant legs, was the theme here as this spot is probably the ‘tickiest,’ as in insect spot in the state. But the birds more than make up for it. An unexpected highlight was a bay-breasted warbler near the start. A Tennessee warbler attracted us with its three-part ‘typewriter’ song and a magnolia warbler was also singing.

Walking east on the trail, we encountered a high number of American redstarts and ovenbirds as well as three Blackburnian warblers and a black-and-white warbler. Two cerulean warblers were heard along the way with one seen by two birders. An overgrown field on the eastern side of the rest area had Canada, blackpoll, northern parula, chestnut-sided and yellow warblers. Thank goodness for bird song as the trees leaf out! Other birds encountered were Baltimore oriole, scarlet tanager, rose-breasted grosbeak, wood thrush and yellow-throated vireo.

Moving on to Crystal Beach on Lake Bomoseen, we picked up ring-billed and herring gulls, a common merganser, two common loons and three double-crested cormorants. An adult bald eagle sat at its usual spot on the tallest white pine on Neshobe Island. Had this been a warmer day or Memorial Day weekend, boat traffic probably would have made seeing these species more difficult.At nearby Love’s Marsh, we added a singing brown creeper and two yellow-rumped warblers. A pair of wood ducks flew across the marsh.

Along Black Pond and Moscow roads in Hubbardton and Castleton we saw or rather mostly heard black-throated blue and black-throated green warblers along with more yellow-throated vireos, ovenbirds and redstarts. We finally saw a ruby-throated hummingbird!

At a stop at Bomoseen State Park, we finally heard an eastern wood-pewee and added a chipping sparrow and purple finch. A pair of Canada geese guarded eight young.

A last pass along Lake Bomoseen yielded us a Louisiana waterthrush at the Kehoe Fishing Access. Unfortunately, the blue-gray gnatcatcher was a no-show.

Moving west in the county we picked up some grassland species. Bobolinks were bubbling and three killdeer were spotted at Fair Haven Airport. Along Main Road in West Haven more bobolinks were singing as well as eastern meadowlarks. An American kestrel and a dust-bathing wild turkey were also seen.

Two silent savannah sparrows were seen along Ghost Hollow Road. We heard the wheezy song of a blue-gray gnatcatcher along Cogman Road in West Haven and finally spotted the small bird.

We moved on to the Buckner Preserve which entailed a brief trip through New York State. At last we saw an osprey, but couldn’t count it! Fortunately, we saw two at Buckner. More prairie warblers, counted during the start of our day, were heard again. Other highlights at this spot were a nesting red-tailed hawk and another Louisiana waterthrush. We heard the ‘bees buzz’ of a winged warbler so that one went on the list as “golden-winged warbler/blue-winged warbler.”

Odd misses or low numbers today: No downy woodpeckers, no pine warblers, no ruffed grouse, one indigo bunting and that one only giving its ‘spit’ call, two white-breasted nuthatches and few raptors. The hits, however, more than made up for it!

It was a great day to be out and about in Rutland County. Many thanks to all the eyes and ears that made 102 species possible!

Today's list (20 checklists submitted to eBird):

Canada Goose
Wood Duck
Common Merganser
Wild Turkey
Common Loon
Double-crested Cormorant
American Bittern
Great Blue Heron
Green Heron
Turkey Vulture
Bald Eagle
Red-tailed Hawk
Virginia Rail
Spotted Sandpiper
Ring-billed Gull
Herring Gull
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Barred Owl
Chimney Swift
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Belted Kingfisher
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Hairy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Pileated Woodpecker
American Kestrel
Eastern Wood-Pewee
Alder Flycatcher
Willow Flycatcher
Least Flycatcher
Eastern Phoebe
Great-crested Flycatcher
Eastern Kingbird
Yellow-throated Vireo
Warbling Vireo
Red-eyed Vireo
Blue Jay
American Crow
Common Raven
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Tree Swallow
Barn Swallow
Black-capped Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
White-breasted Nuthatch
Brown Creeper
House Wren
Marsh Wren
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Eastern Bluebird
Hermit Thrush
Wood Thrush
American Robin
Gray Catbird
European Starling
Cedar Waxwing
Louisiana Waterthrush
Northern Waterthrush
Golden-winged/Blue-winged Warbler
Black-and-white Warbler
Tennessee Warbler
Nashville Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
American Redstart
Cerulean Warbler
Northern Parula
Magnolia Warbler
Bay-breasted Warbler
Blackburnian Warbler
Yellow Warbler
Chestnut-sided Warbler
Blackpoll Warbler
Black-throated Blue Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Prairie Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler
Canada Warbler
Chipping Sparrow
Savannah Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Swamp Sparrow
Eastern Towhee
Scarlet Tanager
Northern Cardinal
Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Indigo Bunting
Red-winged Blackbird
Eastern Meadowlark
Common Grackle
Brown-headed Cowbird
Baltimore Oriole
Purple Finch
American Goldfinch
House Sparrow




West Rutland Marsh - May Monitoring Report

how many birders can you fit in a car?We always say nothing beats the West Rutland Marsh in May (well, June is good too!). Today 26 participants, enjoying a taste of summer, tallied 68 species.  

Although neither American nor least bittern was observed (least bittern was reported earlier in the week), both Virginia rail and sora were among today’s numbers. Marsh wrens, swamp sparrows, yellow warblers and common yellowthroat were in full voice.

Both alder and willow flycatchers have returned and a high number of eastern kingbirds – twelve – were busy defending territories. One great crested flycatcher was heard briefly along Whipple Hollow Road and the ‘che-bek’ of four least flycatchers was heard.

Hawks were in low numbers with only two red-tailed hawks and three raptor wannabes - turkey vultures.

Red Columbine along Whipple Hollow RoadA brown thrasher was observed along Marble Street (north of the green house). At least three Baltimore orioles were seen along this area where they have nested in the past.

Warblers, the joy of the season, were seen and/or heard in good number with 11 of those species. A ‘winged warbler’ sang ‘bees buzz’ from the east side of Marble street indicating the presence of a blue-winged or golden-winged warbler or a hybrid of the two. Two northern waterthrush were heard, one along Pleasant street and one along Whipple Hollow and two Canada warblers have returned to Whipple Hollow Road this year. Other warblers were black-and-white, Nashville, common yellowthroat, American redstart, yellow, chestnut-sided and black-throated green warbler.

The next marsh walk is scheduled for Saturday, June 10, at 7 a.m.

Today’s list:  

Canada Goose  9
Wood Duck  2
Mallard  1
Great Blue Heron  1
Turkey Vulture  3
Red-tailed Hawk  2
Virginia Rail  3
Sora  1
Wilson's Snipe  1
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon)  1
Mourning Dove  8
Chimney Swift  4
Ruby-throated Hummingbird  6
Red-bellied Woodpecker  1
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker  1
Downy Woodpecker  4
Northern Flicker (Yellow-shafted)  1
Pileated Woodpecker  1
Peregrine Falcon  1
Alder Flycatcher  9
Willow Flycatcher  3
Least Flycatcher  4
Eastern Phoebe  3
Great Crested Flycatcher  1
Eastern Kingbird  12    
Warbling Vireo  10
Red-eyed Vireo  7
Blue Jay  11
American Crow  2
Common Raven  4
Tree Swallow  8
Barn Swallow  8
Black-capped Chickadee  8
Tufted Titmouse  2
Brown Creeper  1
House Wren  5
Marsh Wren  10
Eastern Bluebird  2
Veery  8
Wood Thrush  1
American Robin  5
Gray Catbird  9
Brown Thrasher  1
European Starling  4
Cedar Waxwing  8
Ovenbird  7
Northern Waterthrush  2
Golden-winged/Blue-winged Warbler  1    
Black-and-white Warbler  7
Nashville Warbler  1
Common Yellowthroat  22
American Redstart  10
Yellow Warbler  22
Chestnut-sided Warbler  3
Black-throated Green Warbler  2
Canada Warbler  2
Song Sparrow  7
Swamp Sparrow  16
Scarlet Tanager  1
Northern Cardinal  3
Rose-breasted Grosbeak  1
Red-winged Blackbird  19
Common Grackle  12
Brown-headed Cowbird  1
Baltimore Oriole  5
House Finch  1
American Goldfinch  19
House Sparrow  2




Green-Up Day at West Rutland Marsh - Thank You!

Fred Bates picks up litter along Marble StreetOnce again RCAS members joined with other community volunteers to help clean up West Rutland Marsh, our county’s premier birding hotspot, on Vermont’s 47th annual Green Up Day. Thank you to everyone who participated!

While some the trash picked up is a bit humorous (odd pieces of clothing) or more run-of-the-mill litter such as fast food containers and beer cans, sometimes the trash is very harmful to the environment. During the day’s work, two large containers of hydraulic oil and two bottles of windshield wiper fluid with antifreeze. 

Spring birdsong provided a cheerful background during the work. Common Yellowthroats are back in force as are Yellow Warblers. A Black-and-white Warbler, a Northern Waterthrush and a Blue-headed Vireo were also heard. A Wilson's Snipe was calling from one of the fields.


West Rutland Marsh - April Monitoring Report

It’s hard to say which was more amazing – the number of species or the number of birders – at today’s walk around West Rutland Marsh!

Thirty-six birders, from age 7 to 89, showed up despite the somewhat gloomy weather (the rain held off until the very end). Fortunately, there was no wind and, as the bird song has noticeably increased since last month, it turned out to be a very pleasant morning. There were plenty of new faces as well as a contingent from Otter Creek Audubon

Fifty-three species were tallied, a new April high, well above our average of 42 for this month of the year. It is also eight more than observed a year ago this month.

Two of the marsh’s signature species, Virginia rail and American bittern, were heard immediately from the boardwalk. We later saw a bittern in flight near the intersection of Whipple Hollow and Water streets.

Raptors were well-represented with two northern harriers, one sharp-shinned hawk, one red-shouldered hawk (not commonly observed on this walk), one red-tailed hawk and one American kestrel.

Tree SwallowsOne of the highlights of the walk was a flock of 63 tree swallows, accompanied by a handful of barn swallows and northern rough-winged swallows, swirling over Water Street, and occasionally landing in a tree.

Ruby-crowned kinglets were everywhere along the route as they have been throughout Vermont this week. One golden-crowned kinglet was also heard. Two marsh wrens were singing as well as three winter wrens and a blue-headed vireo. A brown creeper was singing as well.

A pair of eastern bluebirds was investigating a bird house, a spot where they have nested in previous years. A hermit thrush, our state bird, has also returned.

The advance front of warblers is in - yellow-rumped warblers with three seen along the route.

Twenty-six swamp sparrows were counted, all in enthusiastic song, so no doubt some females were missed. Song sparrows were heard or spotted along the route, while a couple of American tree sparrows are still hanging around the feeders near the boardwalk.

Another sign of spring was bloodroot in bloom and the budding marsh marigolds.

The next walk is scheduled for Thursday, May 18, at 7 a.m.

Today’s list:

Canada Goose  32
Wood Duck  4
Mallard  4
Ruffed Grouse  2
American Bittern  3
Great Blue Heron  1
Turkey Vulture  3
Northern Harrier  2
Sharp-shinned Hawk  1
Red-shouldered Hawk  1
Red-tailed Hawk  1
Virginia Rail  4
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon)  4
Mourning Dove  10
Belted Kingfisher  2
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker  4
Downy Woodpecker  6
Northern Flicker  3
American Kestrel  1
Eastern Phoebe  5
Blue-headed Vireo  1
Blue Jay  6
American Crow  9
Common Raven  1
Northern Rough-winged Swallow  6
Tree Swallow  86    
Barn Swallow  10
Black-capped Chickadee  17
Tufted Titmouse  7
White-breasted Nuthatch  2
Brown Creeper  1
Winter Wren  3
Marsh Wren  2
Golden-crowned Kinglet  1
Ruby-crowned Kinglet  21    
Eastern Bluebird  3
Hermit Thrush  1
American Robin  17
Brown Thrasher  1
European Starling  7
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle)  4
American Tree Sparrow  2
Dark-eyed Junco (Slate-colored)  7
White-throated Sparrow  5
Song Sparrow  17
Swamp Sparrow  26    
Northern Cardinal  9
Red-winged Blackbird  41
Common Grackle  8
Brown-headed Cowbird  5
Purple Finch  2
American Goldfinch  14
House Sparrow  1